Sunday April 17th MHC Walk – Soller

fornalutx-to-soller-walk-mallorca hiking

Hello Mallorca Hikers!

If you are not already enrolled in Mallorca Hiking’s residents’ walking Club and would like to join, there is still the opportunity to sign-up with a special 50% discount (call Fiona – details below)

The next MHC walk is scheduled for Sunday 17th April. One of our members John Ballard has very kindly offered to lead this lovely circular walk –

Soller and surrounding villages

John is an experienced walker himself and has led many groups of walkers in the past. Please read the walk description carefully, consider the grade we’ve given it (moderate in this case) and make sure you are happy that it is a level you can cope with.

We’ll meet at 10.30 am at the entrance to the Botanical Gardens on the road to the Port of Sóller and we should be finished by about 4.30pm.

The programme for the day is slightly different to last time. In total we will walk about 3.5 to 4 hours (excluding stops): 2.5+ hours before lunch and then 1+ hours after lunch depending on the speed of the group. But you’ll be pleased to hear that the walk after lunch is easy and downhill all the way!

We’ve organised a delicious set lunch at the Es Turó restaurant in Fornalutx, which has a fabulous terrace (with even more fabulous views) where we’ll eat provided the weather is still good. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy some apres-hike fun and relaxation. Please note that for the main course there is a choice between roast pork and vegetables and fish with vegetables – please let us know when you sign up for the walk, which one you’d prefer.

The price for the day is:
* 5 euros contribution to Mallorca Hiking for organising everything
* 15 euros + service to the restaurant for 3-course lunch including wine
* If you’re getting a lift from another member please offer to contribute to their petrol and the toll for the Soller tunnel.

We’ll be limiting the number of people in the group to 20 + 2 guides, so if you’d like to join us please let us know as soon as possible! Friends and family are very welcome to join us if there are still places, but Club members are given priority. We’ve posted the walk on Facebook, and will post a reminder during the week, so if you can please respond via a comment on these posts. We need final numbers by latest 5pm Thursday 14th April please.

This time don’t forget to bring your cameras and take lots of snaps as we’ll be running a photo competition during the week following the walk. The winner gets to come on next month’s MHC walk for free (excluding lunch).

We’ll be posting the winner of last month’s quiz over the next day or so. Watch that space!

We look forward to seeing you on the 17th. Until then happy hiking!

Best wishes, Fiona

Fiona McLean
+34 635 393 402

Dry Stone Route, GR221 Pt 2

GR221 Dry Stone Route Mallorca HikingToday we continue our hike along Mallorca’s Dry Stone Route (GR221). In our last post we covered the first three stages of this walk from Port d’Andratx to Esporles. The complete route spans from Port d’Andratx in the SW of Mallorca up to Pollensa in the NE and realistically is a hike you would need to take over several days. There are several hostels or Refugis at various stages along the way, charging a very reasonable price for bed and breakfast, and usually typically Mallorquin meals (if you don’t fancy hostel accommodation there are plenty of really nice hotels to choose from too…)

Today we’ll walk sections 4 to 6:

Stage 4 Esporles through Valldemossa to Deia and Can Boi refuge

Stage 5 Deia to the Muleta refuge and the Port of Sóller

Stage 6 Sóller through the Barranc de Biniaraix to the Cúber lake, and finishing at Tossals Verds refuge

As mentioned in our previous post, there are still some issues with rights of way and some poorly marked areas (and sometimes no way-marks at all!) in the early stages of this long distance walk. We’ve flagged up some of the problematic areas and we’ll update these posts when things improve. Section 4, our starting point for this post, also has a few problems…

Dry Stone Route Stage 4 map

Section Four stretches from Esporles through Valldemossa and on to Deia. This is beautiful countryside and involves a challenging hike of about 6 hours and a spectacular descent into Deia. It’s best you have some walking experience to complete this section. There is partial signposting, but no right of way issues.

Can Boi Refugi Mallorca HikingAs well as the three beautiful villages of Esporles, Valldemossa and Deia, you will also pass historic charcoal burning sites, bread ovens, and aged olive groves. You’ll need a good route guide for this section, as there are some fairly overgrown areas that can be misleading. Your destination is the mountain refuge of Can Boi in Deia. This hostel was opened in 2006 and has 32 beds laid out in dormitories.

Section Five runs from the fabulous village of Deià to the port of Sóller and the mountain hostel of Muleta. This is an easy hike of about 3 hours and it is fully way-marked. It is a delightful old Moorish footpath from the 10th century and has been restored in a number of sections. But before you leave Deià, be sure to have a good stroll around – it’s an enchanting village.

Port Soller to Cap GrosAlong this stretch of the GR221 you’ll enjoy walking through olive grove terraces, and you’ll see pretty country houses and the superb protected estate house of Muleta Gran. Other things to explore include the small 17th century chapel of Castelló and the lighthouse of cap Gros built in the 19th century, from which you get great views of the Port of Soller. It’s also worth a little diversion from the GR221 to visit the defence tower of Sa Pedrissa, a building dating back to the 17th century. You could also treat yourself to a gourmet meal at the famous Bens d’Avell restaurant…

Tossals Verd lodge Mallorca HikingOur final stage for this post – Section Six moves inland into the region of Escorxa via a steep uphill climb. This section should take around 8 hours and has some quite difficult sections – reaching heights of up to 1000m. From the Muleta refuge you pass through the beautiful valley of Sóller up to the Cúber through the ravine of Biniaraix (declared a Cultural point of interest in 1994 for its dry-stone heritage value) and on to Tossals Verds – views from here stretch down to the bay of Palma. Don’t forget to watch out for birds of prey when you’re in the Cuber and Tossals areas – these are excellent spots for seeing them.

Make sure you take some time to appreciate some of the lovely historic buildings in Sóller, and stop for a freshly squeezed orange juice in the picturesque village of Biniaraix.  You’ll also see orchards of citrus trees laden with fruit, olive groves, impressive estate houses, country cottages and casitas, an incredible water-channelling systems (fountains, washing places, channels, troughs, water mills…) including a complete modular concrete channel linking the lakes of Cuber and Gorg Blau. You will also notice the changing plant life as you enter into the mountainous area of the Serra Tramuntana – a whole new world of island flora will unfold before your eyes. It’s also not unusual to see cows wandering free around the lakes and woods, as well as groups of mountain goats and sheep.  Many varieties of birds also nest and flourish in this area including the impressive  soaring birds of prey.

The mountain hostel of Tossals Verds is your destination at the end of this section, and it will be a welcome sight after a long walk and a steep climb. This hostel has been open since 1995 and is roughly equidistant between Soller and Lluc. If you want to stay at the refuge you must reserve your bed in advance.

Here we will rest until our next post completing the final two sections and our destination, Pollensa. We have covered the equivalent of approximately 18 hours walking here, so it’s time to rest here – until the next time…

Tossals Verds Loop – Lakes Walk, Tramuntana Mountains

Lake Cuber Mallorca hikingThe lakes region of Mallorca has been declared one of the best walking areas of Mallorca by the Travel writer of the Times. Snuggled in a basin of the Sierra Tramuntana Mountains, this is one of our most popular walks. This is not only an area of natural beauty but it’s a favourite spot for the island’s birds, where falcons, ospreys and black vultures – with a near three-metre wingspan – and even eagles can be seen circling the peaks. The area also has a network of mountain refuges for backpackers and hikers. (We’ll be covering the refuge facilities in more detail in a future article).

As well as the facilities and range of walks for the seasoned hiker, there are also excellent picnic facilities including bbq areas for day trippers, and these areas are well frequented at weekends and holidays by the island’s residents.

This is an excellent and nicely varied circular walk around the Tossals Verds peak (at around 1,100 m high, it is the 3rd highest on the island). It is an energetic route, which takes us through 5 tunnels (so you’ll need a torch!), includes a couple of steep ascents and a well-located stop at one of the island’s beautifully restored refuges. Otherwise, the walk is along delightful paths, many formerly used by the charcoal burners.

We start at the car park to the north east of the reservoir, and follow the tarmac lane along the side of the reservoir before we branch off and descend the valley (with fabulous views of Tossals Verds). Here we pass through the tunnels and then continue down.

The climb up to the refuge is quite steep but we walk on an easy track and path, and the views from the refuge terraces are quite lovely. From here we continue to climb – steeply and then more gently. The path which circles around Tossals Verds is delightful, and eventually we get a view of the Gorg Blau reservoir before we return to the Cúber.

After Hike – the surrounding area includes the towns of Pollensa and Sóller – both have magic and charm and retain a lot of their historic roots. They are an ideal place to stop for a coffee or a meal after your walk and watch the world go by. The monastery of Lluc is also a must visit location in this part of the island, and if you get there around 5pm in the afternoon you can listen to the choir practice – magical.

Why not make a day of this great walking excursion, and combine our guided walk with a tour of some of the local towns afterwards.